Baskerville

1392 Words Sep 23rd, 2014 6 Pages
The transitional Baskerville typeface is the result of years of formalization and innovation on the behalf of its designer John Baskerville. Baskerville appears to have been a man driven by a sense of perfectionism, and strongly influenced by his earlier careers in related industries. It was these unique qualities that drove the creation of the long-lasting Baskerville font, that is still widely used in the modern day.

John Baskerville was born in England in 1706. Early in his life he was a “writing master”, but later went on to make a fortune in the japanning business before finally finding his vocation as a printer 1750.

It was at this time, that French typographers were beginning to make the first steps towards revising the
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According to De Fontenai:
“The English printer has no need to borrow aid from engraving; nor do we find…plates, vignettes, tail-pieces, ornamental letters, or, in short, any of those accessories which serve as passports, so to speak, for a worthless lot of French verse which, without this useful precaution, would meet its just desert—oblivian.”
The only decorative elements that Baskerville produced and included with his typeface were fourteen flower forms, which he seldom used, and are absent from his best works.

A major influence on these works was the type of William Caslon who was responsible for the most popular typefaces of the time. In his preface for second printed book, Baskerville clearly states his admiration for Caslon:
“Mr. Caslon is an Artist, to whom the Republic of Learning has great obligations; his ingenuity has left a fairer copy for my emulation than any other master.
In his great variety of Characters I intend not to follow him; the Roman and Italic are all that I have hitherto attempted; if in these he has left room for improvement, it is probably more owing to that variety which divided his attention, than to any other cause. I honor his merit and only wish to derive some small share of Reputation, from an Art which proves accidentally to have been the object of our mutual pursuit.”
Both the Caslon
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